PIKEVILLE, Ky. - What was once though to be only a pipe dream and an impossible feat is now becoming a reality for the residents of the Tug Valley area who hate the thought of traveling to Charleston, WV or Lexington, Ky. in order to board a commercial flight.
According to Air Service Project Consultant Luke Schmidt, March 3, 2014, is the date the first flight is scheduled to depart. Pikeville is just one step away from important destinations like Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Dallas, plus many other destinations. More importantly, for the first time, companies interested in investing in this region will now find it much easier to get here, which will in turn make the location more appealing in a business sense.
Schmidt was quoted as saying that access to the global air service system is what the new service is all about, commenting that for example, coal company executives will be able to board a plane in Pikeville and after only two stops, meet with potential new markets in places such as China, India and Latin America.
Schmidt was joined at the ribbon cutting ceremony held last week at the airport by Ky. Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, and several other state and local officials. The new Appalachian Air plane was unveiled during the festivities and was described as a sleek, high-performance British Aerospace BAE Jetstream 32 plane, and those in authority permitted 19 individuals to take a short, maiden flight.
Congressman Rogers was one of those who took the flight and said that it was truly a great day for not only Pike County but for all of Southeastern Kentucky and it’s surrounding areas, and encouraged people to utilize the service to make it a success.
Appalachian Air will provide one, round-trip flight every day of the week between the Pikeville-Pike County Airport and the Nashville, Tennessee International Airport. Once in Nashville, passengers may link with connecting flights that travel non-stop to over 50 major destinations in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The trip from Pikeville to Nashville is expected to take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
For years, officials have been working toward bringing commercial flights to the local region and feel that this service will provide many conveniences to those that call Eastern Kentucky home.
Rules are being implemented that explain how passengers flying out of Pikeville will undergo security screenings before departing and will not be required to repeat the process once they arrive in Nashville. The airport authority will also offer free parking, as well as short check-in and security lines. All public charter flights are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which means that the federal government places strict limitations on the cancellation of public charter flights, as well as the fact that Appalachian Air passenger funds must be held in an escrow account approved by the government until the flight is complete.
For more information on the future flight plans for Pike County, you may visit their website at http://appalachianair.com.